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Safe Haven Law: What Should Nebraska Do?

Parents in a panic sometimes abandon their infants in unsafe environments. To avoid that practice and ensure the safety of the babies, many states have safe haven laws that allow moms and dads to drop their offspring off at specific destinations like hospitals without the fear of being prosecuted. Nebraska recently instituted such a law in July, but extended the age range to include all minors. And, as a result 17 children including teenagers and one from out of state have been relinquished.

ABC reported:

"Safe haven legislation is designed to prevent infants from being left outside or left unattended," said Nebraska Gov. Dave Heinman. "Safe haven laws were not designed to allow families having difficulty with older youth and teenagers to abandon their children or responsibilities as parents."

Do you think Nebraska should tighten its terms to only infants?

Join The Conversation
kmckay kmckay 8 years
i agree that it should be extended beyond 3 days... in the first few days of being a mother, i'm sure someone would think they could handle it and think it's going to work. after a few days of realizing what 24/7 responsibility means, they might realize it's not at all what they thought it was. that being said, i'm not sure what an appropriate 'cut-off' should be. greggie has a point that although parents should have an option for older kids/teens, they shouldn't be free of consequences.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
I like the idea of a safe haven law, but there needs to be limits on 1) the age of the child and 2) the time between birth and relinquishment. The idea that someone would take a teenager and just leave him? OMG. LOL I mean, I've had trouble with MY teen before and WANTED to leave him on someone's doorstep, but I would never consider it seriously. What is WRONG with these people?
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
I feel that all children should be protected as well, there have been such HORRIFIC stories of abuse (in ny there was the horrible beating to death of an 11 year old at the hands of her mother this past wk). i feel every child should be offered shelter from the abuses inflicted upon them by adults who are mentally unfit or unstable or just plain violent and cruel...
Fleurie Fleurie 8 years
All children should be protected!
PRgopher PRgopher 8 years
I agree with Spiderlove on the year limit. I feel like that many young parents do not truly realize what parenting entails. Leaving older children behind could be very emotionally scarring for them. I do also think there should be a better way for parents to relinquish older children, especially when they are a threat to the family.
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 8 years
This law is for infants. I think it should be extended past the usual 3 day/one week rule (because some parents may not realize that giving up their child is the best option in that time frame,) but it shouldn't be for children no older than a year. Who the heck are these parents to think they can just dump their teenagers as some sort of liability just becuase they're having a hard time?
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
I think it should be no more than a year. With a child being that young the chances of scaring them for life and giving them major abandonment issues is a lot smaller than say if you drop off a 10 year old. That 10 year old is going to be wrecked for life by being all of a sudden dropped off by people that they thought loved them. I think you talk to a family member, a friend, a church, state agencies if you are having trouble with an older child, but you shouldn't be able to just drop them off some where.
SparkleKat SparkleKat 8 years
The family of 9 wasn't really a functional family anymore. The wife had passed away and the father had kind of lost it. I'm not supporting the idea of dropping off kids who should be able to practically take care of themselves ... but it wasn't a situation where "he had just had all those kids." I can't imagine losing my spouse and being able to carry on like normal ... and I still only have dogs! I think safe haven laws should be extended to include young teens because there are times when you just can't go on. Not because of behavior necessarily, but maybe because of the parent's own problems: drug abuse, mental instability ... it's a tough call.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
Well I live in Nebraska and the lawmakers are in the works trying to get the kinks out of the new law. They will be writing in an age limit which will be 3 day-old infants. I'm not sure when the new law will be in affect though.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
I have to agree that all children should be proctected. To the person who said "it's no one else's fault but your own that you are in financial turmoil and you shouldnt' have had 10 children if you can't handle them", the children didn't ask to be born, or for their parent to fail them.
Mishell Mishell 8 years
I think all children, no matter their age, deserve to be protected under laws like this one.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i agree with spiderlove's argument...a year is gives parents the time to learn and deal with the baby but then realize that parenting is not for them...families who wish to adopt are very receptive to adoption of babies around a year anyway so these children would likely be able to find good homes older children, however, become wards of the state, get bounced around the system, and cost the government a lot of money!
Greggie Greggie 8 years
I agree with Robin on some level, which is why I think we need better policies for relinquishing parental rights. I just don't think that if you have a 12-year-old and leave him/her somewhere, you should automatically be free from abandonment prosecution. Safe haven laws for newborns, I totally support.
Spiderlove Spiderlove 8 years
As the mother of an 18 year old... there are days when I would wholeheartedly agree that the law should be "up to 18" But seriously.... I think it should be a longer time than the 3 day rule. What about girls/women who although they want to try and keep their child, after a few months realize that it's just NOT going to work. I'm sure there are women like that out there. Some people were just NOT meant to be parents. Like the woman who put her baby in a microwave... I mean, wasn't the baby like 2 months old? I would much rather have it be up to a year at least.... I think it would cut down dramatically on abuse and neglect.
RobinFabulous RobinFabulous 8 years
I think it should be left alone. I'd much rather have these kids dropped off safe, at a hospital, instead of other options. If you can't handle a baby, or toddler, or teenager there are much worse things that could be done than leavingthem at a hospital. Hopefully they'll see some of the parent murder rates go down due to this law.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
the stories behind this have been crazy and terrible like the man who left all his kids, i think there were 9 of them?!?! it's no one else's fault but your own that you are in financial turmoil and you shouldnt' have had 10 children if you can't handle them i think they should make a day limit, like a 7 day old baby max or something
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
i think this is awesome i love the moses law
Greggie Greggie 8 years
When it comes to no prosecution for abandonment, and no questions asked, yes, Nebraska should limits its terms to infants. I support the three-day limit in California. However, I think states need better policies for those who need to relinquish rights. If a parent has a teen who is truly a danger to the family, there is little they can do right now.
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